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Office Hours

Archive for July 2012

Get interactive with Spokane artist Charlie Schmidt, for a good cause

Today's SR had a story on two artists, Charlie Schmidt and Ken Spiering, who have an active campaign to  hunt down online infringers of their copyrights. Schmidt protects his well-known Keyboard Cat image and video; Spiering his well-regarded Riverfront Park interactive sculpture — properly referred to as “Childhood Express.”

You can get interactive with Charlie this Friday during the August First Friday activities.

He's doing an interactive art event at Cup of Cool Water, a nonprofit business that helps teens get jobs and earn incomes. It's at 1106 W. Second. And the Facebook page for the event is here.

SR writer Chelsea Bannach wrote about the business, which helps train young people how to work on bikes.

The FFF (First Friday flyer) describes Schmidt's gig this way: 
Cup of Cool Water Interactive Opening! There will be large canvases being painted at the show. Grab a spray can or marker (provided) and join in the fun! Live music and eats. Charlie Schmidt will tag full blast with partner Stow Miller and show a few of his Keyboard Cat paintings. Don’t miss it. Proceeds go to helping Spokane’s homeless youth.

City hearing on Jensen-Byrd building demolition postponed until October

Update on the Jensen-Byrd building and plans to demolish it (see earlier story).

The City of Spokane's Hearing Examiner's office has postponed today's scheduled hearing, which was to hear an appeal by opponents of Campus Advantage, the Texas firm planning to tear down the structure and replace it with modern student housing. The opponents, Spokane Preservation Advocates, contend the issuance of the demolition permit is not valid.

The advocates filed the appeal earlier this year. This week the group and Campus Advantage agreed to postpone the hearing until Oct. 17, at 9 a.m.  Until the hearing is held, Campus Advantage cannot move forward with plans to tear down the industrial warehouse, which has been unused for several years.

Spokane’s Magner Sanborn wins best small West Coast agency in Ad Age awards

Spokane ad agency Magner Sanborn was named best small agency in the West Coast in a competition arranged by media publication Ad Age.

The award was presented to company principals at a recent event in Minneapolis.

Ad Age gives out a gold and silver award for small, medium and large agencies in four U.S. regions. Small agencies are those with fewer than 150 workers.

Magner Sanborn won the gold for the West Coast region, which includes California and Oregon. The silver winner was an ad agency from San Francisco, said Dennis Magner, one of the company’s founders.

“For us, this validates what we’ve done here, and says that small is great,” he said.

“So often the larger conglomerates get the attention, but the awards recognize that great work is done in smaller agencies,” he said.

Magner Sanborn, launched in 2003 and with offices in downtown Spokane, has 40 workers. Its clients include Amtrak, Thomas Hammer Coffee, Yoke's Fresh Markets, Netflix and others.
  

Coldwater Creek proposes reverse stock split to remain listed on the Nasdaq

Sandpoint women’s apparel retailer Coldwater Creek is proposing a reverse stock split to keep the company trading on the Nasdaq market.

A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission proposes a vote by Coldwater shareholders to approve the split. Neither the date for the election or the split ratio has been decided, said company spokeswoman Bobbi Earle.

The Nasdaq rules state a company’s stock will be delisted if it remains below $1 a share for 90 days following a notice of possible delisting.

Nasdaq sent that notice to Coldwater Creek in mid-June. Its share price was last above $1 on May 10. Since then its price has fallen to 45 cents and as high as 80 cents.

It closed Monday at 63 cents.

While struggling to revive its stock price, the company has earned some market support because of a recent infusion of cash from equity firm Golden Gate Capital. Last month the San Francisco-based fund announced it’s lending Coldwater Creek $65 million.

In exchange, Golden Gate Capital gets to choose two directors to Coldwater Creek’s board.

This week’s not so timely book offer: Inside the Beijing Olympics

The London Olympics are right around the corner. Which means, someone out there totally thinks they have a timely idea for a themed book.

But I'm pretty sure it's not this book, “Inside the Beijing Olympics,” by Jeff Ruffalo. He just emailed me (and probably 20,000 other scribes) an invitation for a review copy.

Ruffalo might have wanted to publish this book oh, sometime in 2008, when the Beijing Olympics occurred.  I have to say I've postponed work before … but really, waiting four years to put out a book??

Anyway, I'm sure it's a swell read. In fact, if anyone wants a reviewer's copy of the book, here's how to get one: Send an email to Jeff saying you want to get a review copy. And tell him where you'll publish the review (even Facebook would probably qualify).

Contact Ruffolopr   AT  hotmail.com.

What's in it?  Here are the breathtaking contents, according to the pitch email Jeff sent us:

  •  A bomb threat at the Water Cube the day before the Opening Ceremonies
  •  A viral Internet posting claiming the Chinese Olympic Organizers were banning the Bible
  •  The Olympic Flame arriving in Tiananmen Square and
  •  The Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee’s media management of the Games, including the Sichuan Earthquake and its aftermath.

His description:  As the only American in the senior management team of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, Jeff Ruffolo takes you behind the scenes and into a world no one has ever before witnessed. This remarkable, first-person account of the Beijing Summer Olympic Games is a riveting narrative taking you inside the greatest Olympics ever! 

This true story recounts the author's effort to perfect the broadcasting of NCAA Volleyball on the fledgling Internet and commercial radio stations throughout the Western USA and how he parlayed that experience into becoming America's voice of Olympic Volleyball at the 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Summer Olympics and then finally securing a position with the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee.

Follow the author as he maneuvers alone through unchartered and perilous waters in The People's Republic of China to become the Senior Expert of the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee and the personal challenges he faced as the 2008 Beijing Olympic Media Center managed one global media crisis after another. 

Be captivated by this fascinating tale of political intrigue, mystery and magic as you too will be transported  Inside the Beijing Olympics.

 

Win an Atticus gift certificate by guessing when BevMo! comes to town

First off, no, we won't hand out a coupon for Total Wine to the winner of this Office Hours contest.

Last week we ran a story describing plans by Total Wine to open two big megastores in Spokane. Total Wine, you might remember, is one of the nation's largest alcohol retailers. It's big.

That story also raised the question when another competing chain liquor retailer, BevMo!, might show up in Spokane.  The story quoted a BevMo! spokeswoman saying:  “Not yet, but you never know…it might not be all that long.” The California firm has two Washington locations, in Silverdale and Tacoma.

We're offering a gift card to Atticus coffee shop to the lucky reader who can come closest to the opening date of the first BevMo! store in Spokane County.

Right: a $10 certificate for good ol' coffee or tea from Atticus, if your guess is closest to the opening date. Not the announcement date; the date the store actually opens for business in Spokane.

Submit entries here under this post; leave your guess in this date form:  MM/DD/YY.

In case of ties, we'll figure out some sort of solution.  Workers or employees of BevMo! and Cowles Co. are not eligible.

Cheney is prime security-company turf, based on how reps treat each other

OK, things are pretty odd and disturbing in little ol' Spokane when we have street battles between competing security companies.

SECURITY company reps, duking it out over sales and turf, no less!

SR writer Meghann Cuniff spills the beans with a recent Sirens & Gavels post.

Here's some of the story:

“Two young security salesmen assaulted and robbed two men from a rival company in Cheney on Monday, police say. Suspects Kyle C. French, 18, and Ignatius Tepp, 19, work for Stryker Security Sales. Todd Jensen and James Stoker, who work for Vivint Security Sales, told police they were attacked by the men because he was selling products in their area.

Vivint saleswoman Miranda Hayes said the men were rude and aggressive when they confronted Jensen and stoker and told them to stay out of their area.”

I get the feeling maybe both companies might want to screen their hires a little closer.

Red Lion announces plan to add Cathedral City franchise hotel

Spokane’s Red Lion Hotels Corp. announced Wednesday it’s added a franchise location in Cathedral City, Calif.

This fall the 97-room Quality Inn & Suites Date Palm will convert to Red Lion Hotel Cathedral City.  Cathedral City is approximately seven miles southeast of Palm Springs.

Red Lion has made a clear strategic decision to expand through franchising new locations.

 Company CEO Jon Eliassen said the property is a good addition that will appeal to travelers to the Palm Springs and Southern California region.

 Having a location in the Palm Springs area makes sense by offering more options to winter-time business or recreation travelers, Eliassen added. The Red Lion press release noted the Palm Springs area features more than 100 golf courses.

Itron makes a big gas meter sale to Turkey’s largest energy utility

Is it a coincidence?  A few months after Goldman Sachs announced that it's buying 13.3 percent interest in  Turkey’s largest private gas utility, that utility,  AKSA Energy, decides to order 745,000 Itron gas meters.

Yes indeed, Goldman Sachs is an investor in Liberty Lake-based Itron, which develops services and products for the gas, electric and water utility industry.  On March 2012 Itron announced Goldman Sachs held 40,800 shares in Itron common stock.

Which, in fact, is a fairly small percentage of total Itron stock.

No, it's not a conspiracy. This is just the way the world works; especially after noting that this is not AKSA's first order from Itron. 

Many utilities across Eastern Europe are focusing on expanding infrastructure to meet growing energy demands. AKSA is buying gas meters from Itron because that's probably the best choice for that product.

Itron didn't announce the dollar value of the three-year deal.

In March 2012 Itron shares were trading around $44. As of today they're trading at around $42, which is up sharply from yesterday.

Here is the boilerplate announcement by AKSA about the deal:

“As a leading gas distribution company in Turkey, we are pleased to work with Itron. We’ve used Itron meters for years and these new meters provide embedded technology for smart meter applications that we aim to implement in the near future,” said Yasar Aslan, AKSA’s CEO. “AKSA plays a key role in the Turkish market and relies on Itron for positioning us for the future.”

  

NW Maps closes its store in Spokane Valley, focusing only on online sales

Northwest Maps, which for the past several years was Spokane's primary option for  buying topo and recreation maps, has shifted to an online- and phone-only business, said owner Steve Mitrovich.

In addition to closing down its Spokane Valley store, the Mitroviches now are only selling their own published atlases and marketing maps for this area. They've sold all their topo and recreational maps to Metsker Maps of Seattle.

Steve Mitrovich said the store closed on July 1. The reason?  Recreational map purchases continued to dwindle and the number of maps and map books sold didn't justify running the business, he said.

The company will take phone orders and orders placed through its website www.nwmaps.com. The business phone number is509 455-6981.

REI still sells some physical topo and recreation maps, Mitrovich said.

As the web has continued to gain online presence, many recreationists are also ordering and printing maps directly from sites such as USGS.gov and the Forest Service online map service.

Schweitzer Engineering will open Spokane Valley office

Renovations are expected to be complete by September for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories' new Spokane Valley office.
The engineering and manufacturing company based in Pullman is renovating a 7,000-square-foot office space at 3808 Sullivan Road. The company will lease the space, which formerly was a National Car Rental office, from Crown West Realty, a news release from Schweitzer Engineering said.

Spokane artist Tom Quinn adds director David Lynch to bar mural near GU

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We went over to the Gonzaga neighborhood recently and found Spokane artist Tom Quinn hard at work on the final touches of a mural being added to the University Bar & Grill.

We were struck by two things: John Stockton (who apparently didn't want his image on the wall) was replaced by GU hooper Casey Calvary; and David Lynch, who has a very limited Spokane connection, was featured on the wall, holding a beer next to Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen, a true GU alumna.

We asked Judge Eitzen if she'd seen her wall portrait, and the answer was a loud and clear “No.” In fact, Eitzen even asked: “Is that me?”

Artist Quinn said previous bar owners Willard Quinn III and his wife Christine came up with the requests to add Lynch to the mural.  But in our view, Lynch hardly qualifies for the wall. He was born in Spokane but then moved to Sandpoint. He has no connection to that neighborhood or GU, that we know of.

Revised version: based on Wikipedia, Lynch was born in Sandpoint and then lived briefly in Spokane.

Christine Quinn also requested Tom Quinn add a portrait of actress Michelle Morrow, whose images are featured in the accompanying video. She hails from Spokane.

Tom Quinn, by the way, is not related to Willard Quinn III.  

To look at some of Quinn's artwork and track progress on the mural, he's on Facebook here.

There’s another feature film due out later this year featuring Tangos in bit parts

Earlier this week we mentioned the cameo that Rick Woodbury's Tango electric car landed in a feature film, “Robot and Frank.”

We learned there is one other film probably to be released in 2012 that will feature four Tangos. It's “Looper,” and like “Robot and Frank,” it's set in the not-distant future. 

“Looper” was filmed in New Orleans and is time-travel adventure yarn about mercenaries who are paid to send their prey back in time. Its cast includes Emily Blunt and Bruce Willis. It will have lots of explosions, something that won't happen in the other film.

Here's the IMDB page for “Looper.” 

Coldwater Creek’s week started with a bang, and then the market grew cautious

This past week Coldwater Creek got a dose of cash from a major investor. The announcement that Bay Area private equity firm Golden Gate Capital was lending $65 million helped boost the company's public stock to above 80 cents per share.

That's the highest it's been in since May.

Since Tuesday, the stock has drifted a bit lower, as can be expected. The good news: It's closing higher than it was last week.

The charts below, from Yahoo Finance, show the stock price over the past week. 

On Friday Coldwater Creek filed an amended report summarizing the investment from Golden Gate. Here's the explanation for where the $65 million will go: 
“The proceeds of the Term Loan Agreement will be used for debt repayment, to finance the acquisition of working capital assets, and for other general corporate purposes.  On July 9, 2012, the Company used $14.8 million of the proceeds to repay its term loan with Wells Fargo Bank.”

 

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Opening Price

$0.46

$0.56

$0.80

$0.71

$0.67

Last Trade

$0.52

$0.80

$0.74

$0.67

$0.69

Price Change

$0.06

$0.24

$-0.06

$-0.04

$0.02

% Change

13.04%

42.86%

-7.5%

-5.63%

2.99%

Day´s High

$0.52

$0.82

$0.84

$0.71

$0.73

Day´s Low

$0.45

$0.56

$0.70

$0.66

$0.67

Volume

757,430

6,148,151

2,154,086

834,570

263,154


Schweitzer Engineering will open Spokane Valley office

Renovations are expected to be complete by September for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories' new Spokane Valley office.
The engineering and manufacturing company based in Pullman is renovating a 7,000-square-foot office space at 3808 Sullivan Road. The company will lease the space, which formerly was a National Car Rental office, from Crown West Realty, a news release from Schweitzer Engineering said.

Yes, there’s a new construction rebound. But will it carry through 2012?

The SR and Spokesman.com featured a business story today on the rising hope that the area's housing market is coming back.

Today's Washington Post had the exact same idea today. Here's its take, which is nearly identical to the SR story, in terms of why people care about new home construction:

New homes are popping up in more and more neighborhoods around the country in recent months, offering one of the most promising signs yet that the nation’s long-suffering housing market is actually starting to heal.

The increase in new home construction is particularly encouraging because of the economic benefits that ripple out each time a construction crew breaks ground. The growing demand for new homes has put contractors back to work, helped shore up some municipal budgets and pumped money into local economies.

“When you create jobs again in the housing market, you create some multiple of those jobs elsewhere,” said Brad Hunter, chief economist at Metrostudy, a national research firm that tracks new home construction. “To build a house, you’re causing more demand for lumber, furniture, drapes, carpets, cement, steel, appliances . . . These are all industries that get stimulated by housing.”

Use your phone to determine what the bottle of booze will cost at checkout

Many of us have heard the complaint: dang retailers, they don't show the actual price of the liquor I want to buy!

In the wake of Initiative 1183, which got the state out of the business of selling booze in Washington, people are clamoring for a simple system of determining the actual price of the bottle. The shelf price is always posted, but many stores don't include the 21.5 percent state sales booze tax, and the liter tax.

If you have an iPhone, there's an app for that.

It's been developed by a Seattle and Olympia-based firm called Expectationist, and it's called the WA STATE Liquor TAX app. As described on iTunes, it is a 99 cent calculator that simplifies your buying decision.

Its description says: Future versions should include the ability to share deals with friends, find the nearest bargains, and even track prices of your favorite brands.

Wholesale Sports store in NorthTown Mall opens on July 20

Friends and outdoorsmen, you can plan your July 20 around the opening of the new Wholesale Sports Outdoors Outfitters stores in NorthTown Mall.

The retailer of  fishing, hunting and camping gear opens its doors at 9 a.m. on that date.

The Calgary-based retailer recently closed its Spokane Valley Mall location to prepare for the relocation.

We will keep an eye on Spokane Valley Mall to see which new tenants might be moving into the vacant space there.

Rick Woodbury’s electric Tango lands a cameo in new flick ‘Robot and Frank’

One of the Spokane-made Tango electric cars developed by Rick Woodbury shows up in the trailer of the new summer film “Robot and Frank.” The flick features Susan Sarandon and Frank Langella.

Woodbury is the founder of CommuterCars.com, one of Spokane's better-known but underfunded startups. It creates electric vehicles that hold two, and that can handle any highway condition.

The owner of the car lives in California.

Boots Bakery & Lounge opens its doors in former Rocket Bakery on Main

Our fellow Spokesman.com blogger Lorie Hutson has a quick post on the soft opening of another Spokane downtown eatery. This being Boots Bakery & Lounge, just opened by Alison Collins.

Alison was the nonpareil bartender at Spokane's food shop Mizuna until recently. This is her first Spokane storefront business.  She's been catering food for awhile, and this business is her way to combine her dual talents.

It in the former Rocket Bakery, at 24 W. Main. Love the location.

FlyBack Energy is a great business name, but it had to shed its earlier moniker

Last week one fun story was a business section review of how two area firms, Ecova and Nuvodia, ended up choosing their business names. Nuvodia was a brand new name for a reconstituted part of Spokane-based Inland Imaging Business Services.

Ecova was the new name for Advantage IQ.

We were looking around during the research and found another example that didn't make it into the story. Spokane Valley tech firm FlyBack Energy was not originally named thus.

When first launched, the firm carried a name that left a lot to be desired, said current CEO John Overby. It was  Advanced Research and Development.

The name changed when the company locked onto its business focus, which is to conserve significant amounts of electrical engineering through devices that eliminate the “flyback” effect in an AC circuit.

Magic Lantern movie this month will focus on how to reshape the economy

You don't have to be a tree-hugger to get behind the idea of fixing what ails America.

One new effort, which purports to be a grass-roots effort to change the U.S. economy, is “Fixing the Future,” a series of sessions and events.

The idea stems from PBS TV show host David Brancaccio who has begun interviewing people on how to change our thinking about what needs to happen. His show, NOW, has featured a number of those guest interviews.

Spokane can get in on the act on July 19, during a showing at the Magic Lantern of the film  “Surviving the Future”  at 7 p.m.  Tickets are $5.

The idea is for the documentary to be shown across the country on the same evening in 100 communities.The press materials say that following the documentary, audiences can stick around for a video teleconference of a panel discussion that includes Brancaccio, Bill McKibben, Majora Carter and Mike Brady.

You can load up on more at the event Facebook page.

Innovative GU-area building, The Gee, wins a major award for student housing

A student housing project near Gonzaga University has landed a major architecture award.

The building, developed by Buzz Price on a reclaimed residential lot at 817 E. Nora, won a Gold Nugget Grand Award for best campus housing in a competition sponsored by Builder Magazine and PCBC, a West Coast consortium of builders.

The building was constructed in 2011 by Coeur d'Alene based ActiveWest Builders. The construction company also received a Gold Nugget Grand Award for best green sustainable residential, for the Meadow Ranch building in Coeur d'Alene.

It also won two awards of merit for best senior housing and best detached home under 1,700 square feet.

The Gee (the name more or less connotes Gonzaga University) also has received the LEED-Platinum Certification via the United States Green Building Council.

The Gee architect was RnD Architects

Viking Tavern going through a renaming, and may reopen as a full bar

Somebody appears to want to reopen the Viking Tavern, in north Spokane at 1221 N. Stevens. Instead of a tavern, the state application for a liquor license says the business will be the Viking Bar and Grill.

Current owner Barbara Randazzo closed it down about two weeks ago, without offering a detailed reason, nor providing plans for whether it would come back.

The state liquor license page shows that two folks are applying for a liquor license: they are Troy William Hardy and Kim Duffy. 

Notably, the application, filed on Thursday July 5, shows an application for beer, wine and spirits.  Until now, Randazzo has operated the Viking with only a beer license.

More Bozzi activity: After buying shops, they start event facility in the Flour Mill

Here's the top of my main story in tomorrow's papers and on Spokesman.com:

Vince Bozzi was not looking to become an event center manager. But it happened, bit by bit.

Along with his wife, Emily, Bozzi run several Spokane and Coeur d’Alene-based magazines under the name Bozzi Media. Last month they decided to buy the Chocolate Apothecary Shop, taking over a retail shop at the downtown Flour Mill.

Perhaps overcome by chocolate fumes, the couple then bought Saunders Cheese Market, a Spokane business run since 2006 by their office manager Kim Morin. The Bozzis are moving the cheese business into the chocolate shop.

Then Vince Bozzi met Eugene Blonder, who has a financial interest in the lower Flour Mill floors. Blonder told him he was looking for a partner to develop an events business in the historic building’s very lowest floor.

The “main” level is the one where many shops and Clinkerdagger Restaurant are. Under that are two office floors, and one level lower is the space Blonder spent a lot of money renovating.

After visiting the seldom-seen lowest level, Bozzi decided he was ready for the challenge. He agreed to lease the space.

“It’s very unusual and distinctive,” he said. “And very few people living in Spokane even know what it looks like down there.”

Spokane firm DeVries buys Green Shred LLC, a Pasco mobile document shredder

Spokane-based DeVries Business Services has bought the assets of Green Shred LLC, a mobile document destruction company based in Pasco.

Company President Pat DeVries didn't disclose terms of the deal. He said the deal included the purchase of one shred truck, which will now operate out of Spokane, as well as nearly 100 customers in central Washington and northeast Oregon.

The acquisition brings the number of DeVries' shred trucks to four. It also marks the firm's entry into the northeast Oregon market.  

DeVries says it was becoming more difficult for Green Shred to retain clients because the company offered only mobile destruction. “Clients are requiring more RIM (records and information management) services,” he said.  “We offer a great service profile and we offer more services.”

Marty Gonzales of Mobius Science Center next Connect Northwest speaker

Next week's Connect Northwest breakfast moves locations.

The July 12 breakfast will be at the new Mobius Spokane downtown location, at the corner of Main and Riverside. The breakfast session, running 7:30 a.m.-9 a.m., features Marty Gonzales, director of operations for Mobius Spokane.

The organization, created in 2005, will advocate education in science, technology, engineering and math.

The project is housed in Mobius Science Center, a 27,000 square foot  center devoted to hands-on, inquiry-driven exhibits and complementary programming to ignite the interest and develop the skills of the Inland Northwest’s 21st century workforce.

Registration is advised and costs $30 per person. Go here for details.

Ed Schweitzer honored by IEEE for his achievements in power systems

Ed Schweitzer III, founder and president of Pullman’s Schweitzer Engineering Labs, was presented a 2012 IEEE Medal in Power Engineering last weekend during a ceremony in Boston.

He was among 26 men and women saluted by the IEEE for achievements in technology, computing and engineering. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional association.

The award recognized Schweitzer’s role in “revolutionizing the performance of electrical power systems with computer-based protection and control equipment.”

His company, with offices in Pullman and Lewiston, designs and manufactures a range of products used in the electric power industry. Its products provide backup protection for distributed power applications and help utilities keep accurate measurements of power flowing through transmission lines.

Free tall coffee offered at all area Starbucks on the Fourth of July

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz decided to get patriotic this past week, announcing in Sunday newspaper ads that he wants Americans to get together and be more civil.

In the ad, titled “How Can America Win this Election,” Schultz said it's time for people to sit down and be engaged in making this country strong again.

He's doing his part, offering a free tall coffee in all corporate Starbucks locations across the country. (Probably doesn't apply in the franchise stores inside malls or airports.)

Schultz said that “there is something wrong” with America and “the deficits this country must reconcile are much more than financial, and our inability to solve our own problems is sapping our national spirit.

“In 2012 America needs to win the election more than either party does. It is time now to join together as Americans. It is time, whatever our differences, for us to strive and succeed as one nation-indivisible,” Schultz wrote in the ad that said coffee will be free on July 4, “to spark the conversation in our stores.”

Vince Bozzi buys Saunders Cheese Market, moving it to Flour Mill


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If you enjoyed sipping wine at Vino! and testing cheese at Saunders Cheese Market, at 210 S. Washington, be prepared for a change.

Kim Morin, owner of Saunders Cheese, is selling her business to Spokane businessman Vince Bozzi. Bozzi recently bought the Chocolate Apothecary Shop in the Flour Mill, and plans to run both the chocolate and cheese shop in the same main floor location.

She opened Saunders Cheese Market in 2006.

Bozzi said he'll move the cheese business to the Flour Mill by the end of this month. He plans to have both businesses open seven days a week. He'll also find ways to complement the chocolate and cheese with wine tastings, Bozzi said.

No word on what might move into the current Saunders location on S. Washington.

Spokane Valley’s Ciena operations still producing Carrier Ethernet devices

A week ago we spotted the announcement that tech provider Ciena had signed a deal to replace underwater cable between the U.S. and Japan. This made us wonder if Ciena's Spokane Valley office had anything to do with that coast-to-coast project.

It doesn't, we learned. Ciena acquired the former Worldwide Packets some years ago, and like many out-of-town owners, they've kept a low profile. We're not even sure how many people work in that location, on Sullivan Road.

That operation, since it's the remnant of Bernard Daines' Carrier Ethernet company, is tightly focused on that very technology. If you know much about telecom and enterprise-level delivery of data, you're aware that Carrier Ethernet is still one of the enduring standards.

Instead of doing the underwater cable, the Spokane Valley folks can point to deals like this one in Germany, which shows the enduring appeal of their products.

STCU plans to open new branch on Moran Prairie later this year


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Spokane Teachers Credit Union is breaking ground for its 16th branch office at 5711 S. Hailee Lane on Moran Prairie in Spokane.

The branch will serve the area near Palouse Highway and 57th Avenue, one of the busiest intersections on Spokane’s South Hill.

This branch is designed by Spokane’s Nystrom+Olson Architecture. Walker Construction is the general contractor for the 4,096-square-foot building. Construction is estimated to cost $916,000.

Like the recently opened South Valley Branch, this office is designed for earn an LEED Gold certification for high energy efficiency.

Its features include solar panels, heat-reflecting roof materials, efficient lights and heating system, and interior furnishings that are certified low in volatile organic compounds.

It’s expected to open by the end of 2012

Bad weather wreaks havoc with companies that rely on cloud computing

A lot of people have moved their web content to the cloud. And it's not likely to decline over time, as a solid technology service for providing easy access and reliable data backup.

But there are downsides, as seen in this past weekend's serious weather disruptions along the East Coast.

A New York Times story today lays out how the storm created a large disruption in web services, including such key providers as Instagram and Amazon.

We'll provide a short segment from the Times story

On Friday night, lightning in Virginia took out part of Amazon’s cloud computing service, called Amazon Web Services, which hundreds of companies use for data storage and computation. Well-known sites like Netflix, Pinterest and Instagram were not accessible for hours. There was little information for customers about what had happened, or even whether user data was safe.

The interruption underlined how businesses and consumers are increasingly exposed to unforeseen risks and wrenching disruptions as they increasingly embrace life in the cloud. It was also a big blow to what is probably the fastest-growing part of the media business, start-ups on the social Web that attract millions of users seemingly overnight.

They will also have another option. On Thursday, Google said it would offer computing over the Internet at half the price of Amazon.

The weekend’s disruption happened after a lightning storm caused the power to fail at the Amazon Web Services center in Northern Virginia containing thousands of computer servers. For reasons Amazon was still unsure of on Sunday, the data center’s backup generator also failed.

By midday Saturday, Amazon said in a statement that it had restored service “to most of our impacted customers, and continue to work to restore service to our remaining impacted customers,” adding, “we will share more details on this event in the coming days.” The company had no further comment.

It was at least the second major failure for Amazon in that area. In April 2011, a problem in Amazon’s networking at a nearby data center took down a number of applications and popular Web sites, including Reddit and Quora, for more than a day. 

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